Margaret Chambers is a long way from Lincoln Nebraska, where she was born.
She looks back on her toughest years working as a waitress at night to attend college classes during the day to get to where she is now: a successful interior designer who helps owners make their houses into beautiful homes.
One of ten children, she grew up with “Plenty of siblings!” she says with a laugh. She had five sisters and four brothers, so didn’t get a room of her own until she was 17. But when she did finally get some space of her own, it changed her outlook on life.
“I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do with my life until, at 17, I finally got my own bedroom to decorate. With all those siblings, you can imagine how much I wanted my own space!”
The family lived in Canyon City, Colorado at first and then moved to Las Cruces, New Mexico, where she spent most of her childhood. She spent a little over a year in Boulder, Colorado, where her dad was doing a sabbatical at CU Boulder. She grew up with Corinne, Barbara, Elisabeth, David, Anne, Butch, Rebecca, John, and Steve. Margaret was born between David and Anne, so a “middle child” if ever there was one. She learned to get along with everybody and listen to them, which makes her excellent in her profession today.
Finally getting her own room made all the difference, she says, “I knew then that interior design was something that I loved to do, and that it had the ability to make others feel special and at home. My friends loved my room so much that they asked if they could bring their friends over to see it as well; that’s when I knew I must have a gift for making rooms beautiful.”
Graduated from Las Cruces High School in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Margaret attended New Mexico State University, where she majored in fine arts. She then earned an interior design degree through El Centro’s program when she moved to Dallas at 21 years old. She continued her interior design studies in Europe, completing a program through Parsons.
She went to work for Sanger Harris and then Gabberts, in their interior design departments. Armed with experience at those stores, she went to work for Cole Smith and Bob Ekblad as an interior designer for their residential architecture and architectural engineering firm, Smith Ekblad & Associates, Inc.
Professional Life Leads to Her Personal Life
Margaret met her husband, Thomas Walton Chambers, (“but I just call him Tom”) at her very first interior design job at Sanger Harris where, she says, “We exchanged business cards, but didn’t date, until about two years later. A friend of ours then fixed us up after we both ran into each other again at a mutual friend’s wedding shower.”
The couple had Alexandria Chambers (now Ede), a daughter, 28 years old, and an adopted son, Olmar Vanegas, who is 26. And Margaret may be decorating a nursery soon. She says proudly, “Alex and her husband Trevor are about to make me a first-time grandmother with their baby girl who is due in April!” which, coincidentally, is also Margaret’s birthday month as well.
Growing up, besides her multiple family members, Margaret had a dog she loved named Magpie. Then, while her own children grew up, she had Beethoven, who was like a third child to her. Now, she doesn’t have any pets at her house, but she and Tom love babysitting their ‘grand-puppies,’ Silas and Sebastian, when her daughter and son-in-law are out-of-town.
She also loves the beginning-to-end interior design process and seeing a home transformed into something that beautifully reflects each client’s story and taste, which is why she does what she does—making houses into homes, a beautiful place to rest at the end of the day.
Margaret says she wishes she could have met Sister Parish, one of America’s most prominent and famous interior designers, who worked with Jackie Kennedy on the White House. Her elegant and refined taste in decorating is something Margaret admires and aspires to.
Like most interior designers, Margaret has a personal quirk that, she admits, is a bit unusual: she loves birds. “It’s not obvious when you walk into my house, but one time my kids made me count how many there are. My total was 120, which doesn’t even account for my dishes!”
She says she loves all of the different colors, shapes, and sizes birds come in, the way they chirp and sing, their charming nests, and, of course, “birdhouses! My daughter even asked me if my love of birds included pigeons, and my response was, ‘Well, they’re a bird, aren’t they? So, my answer is yes.’ She looked so surprised.”
Margaret also loves gardening and planting. “Picking out flowers and plants for each season for my house always excites me. I can’t wait to go to the nursery and see how many beautiful plants I can fit into my car. And you will always find me at the Dallas Arboretum during all four seasons.”
The Toughest Time of her Life
Overcoming the toughest time in her life was when she was “working five nights a week as a waitress and going to school full-time to study interior design. I was living in a new city and trying to balance work and school was very demanding when I was so homesick.”
Margaret says she overcame this tough time through sheer determination and hard work. “I kept my mind and heart set on the vision I had for the life I dreamt about: being able to create and beautify for a living.”
With each home she lived in she did the same. “When I first moved to Dallas, I lived in an old apartment in East Dallas’ Hollywood Heights neighborhood. When I got married and was pregnant with my daughter, we lived in a garden home in North Dallas, bordering Plano. Once my husband and I had established businesses near downtown Dallas, we wanted to live more centrally-located. We then moved to Highland Park when my daughter was four, and have been there ever since.”
What will the future bring her? “I plan to still be living my teenage dream of being an interior designer, and would love to have a book published of my work through the years--not just for me, but a keepsake for my daughter, son, and grandchildren to have one day.”
From Nebraska to Colorado to New Mexico to Texas, hard work and determination brought her this far, so a beautiful book about design and decorating will certainly be coming to your local bookstore soon.
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To see Margaret’s most recent large project, view the Theta Sorority House on D Magazine’s website in the November 2016 issue.
Margaret encourages Interior Design classes to have their teachers contact her for a tour of her office and a short lecture on the life of an Interior Designer.
To contact Margaret email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org or see her website www.chambersinteriors.com Phone: (214) 651-7665
Margaret Chambers has been published over 30 times in dozens of professional Interior Design Magazines and journals, and has won multiple awards over her five decades of professional Interior Design including:
2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2005, & 2004 D Home Magazine – “Best Designers in Dallas”
2017, 2016 Houzz.com “Best of Houzz” Award for Design
2017 ASID Legacy of Design Awards (Texas) – 1st Place in Multi-Family
2017 ASID Design Ovation Awards (Dallas) – 1st Place in Multi-Family and Honorable Mention in Traditional Living Spaces
2016 Houzz.com “Best of Houzz” Award for Service
2015 ASID Legacy of Design Awards (Texas) – 1st Place in Transitional Residences under 3,500 sq. ft. and 2nd Place in Transitional Living Room
2015 Houzz.com “Best of Houzz” Award for Design
2014 ASID Design Ovation Awards (Dallas) – 2nd Place in Traditional Master Bedroom
2013 ASID Legacy of Design Awards (Texas) – Honorable Mention in Traditional Residence over 3,500 sq. ft.
2013 ASID Design Ovation Awards (Dallas) – Honorable Mention in Show House or Model Home
2012 ASID Legacy of Design Awards (State of Texas) – 2nd Place in Traditional Residence over 3,500 sq. ft.
2011 ASID Design Ovation Awards (Dallas) – 1st Place in Child’s Room and 2nd Place in Child’s Room
2010 ASID Legacy of Design Awards (Texas) – Award of Merit for Traditional Residence over 3,500 sq. ft.
2009 ASID Legacy of Design Awards (Texas) – 2nd Place in Traditional Residence over 3,500 sq. ft.
2009 ASID Design Ovation Awards (Dallas) – 1st Place in Child’s Room
2008 ASID Legacy of Design Awards (Texas)– 2nd Place in Residential Model Home
2007 Dallas Home Design – Silver Star Award for Home Design: Custom Contemporary Model
2007 ASID Design Ovation Awards (Dallas) – 2nd Place in Residence over 3,500 sq. ft., 2nd Place in Model/Show House, and 2nd Place in Child’s Room
2006 Modern Luxury Magazine – Featured as one of the “Dynamic Women of Dallas”
2006 ASID Legacy of Design Awards (Texas) – 1st Place in Residence over 3,500 sq. ft. and 1st Place in Kitchen under $50,000
2006 ASID Design Ovation Awards (Dallas) – 1st Place in Traditional Residence over 3,500 sq. ft. and 1st Place in Kitchen under $50,000
2006 ASID Design Ovation Awards (Dallas) – 1st Place in Bathroom under $25,000 and 2nd Place in Child’s Room
2003 Dallas Home Design – Silver Star Award – Home Design: Under 2,500 sq. ft.
2002 D Home May/June – Listed as “Designer who does Italian the Right Way”
2001 McSam Award for Luxury Home of the Year – Interior Designer in collaboration with Gage Homes
1995 ASID Design Ovation Award, Dallas Association, Texas Chapter
American Society of Interior Designers (ASID)–Professional Member, ‘84-present
Texas Association for Interior Design (TAID)–Member, 1985-present
Institute of Classical Architecture and Art (ICAA)–Professional Member, 12-present
Dallas Independent Designers Association – Member, 2015-present
Dallas Builders Association – Member, 2015
Texas Board of Architectural Examiners (TBAE) – Registered Interior Designer #82, 1992
National Council for Interior Design Qualifications (NCIDQ) – Certification #5064, 1984
Parson’s European Studies – Italy, 1989
Institute of Classical Architecture and Art (ICAA), Texas Chapter – Member, 2012-present; Steering Committee Member, 2012-2016
Lee Park and Arlington Hall Conservancy – Preservation & Enhancement Chair, Board Member, 2009-present
Turtle Creek Association – Tour of Homes Steering Committee Member, 2012-2016
Dallas Museum of Art – Board Member, 1999-2003
ASID Dallas Association – Chairman, 1989; Board Member 1985-199
Preston Hollow Advocate – Sept 17
Wall Street Journal – March 17
DMagazine.com – Dec 16
Southern Home – Spring 16
Southern Cottage – Winter 15
Texas Home & Living – April 13
Texas Home & Living – Feb, April, & June 12
Texas Home & Living – May & Oct 11
Dallas-Fort Worth Design Guide – March 11
Texas Home & Living – Oct 10
Dallas Morning News – May 10
Park Cities People – Jan 10
Dallas/Fort Worth House & Home – Jan 10
Texas Home & Living – Feb & Aug 09
Park Cities People – Jan-Dec 09
Park Cities People – Nov-Dec 08
D Home – Sept 08
Dallas/Fort Worth House & Home – June 08
Texas Home & Living – Feb & April 08
D Design Book – 08
Dallas Modern Luxury – Dec 07
Where Magazine – May 03
Dallas Home Design – Nov/Dec 01
Villa Décor by Betty Lou Phillips
HGTV 00 & 01
Better Homes & Gardens – Spring 98
Traditional Home – Nov 98
Dallas & Fort Worth Home Living – Nov 98
D/FW’s Life Style Magazine – June 97
Better Homes & Gardens – Winter 95
Margaret Chambers, RID, ASID
Chambers Interiors and Associates, Inc. – Owner & Registered Interior Designer
The Chambers Collection, Inc. – Owner, Furniture Designer, & Antiques Dealer
Tour Décor, LLC – Founding Partner
Chambers Interiors & Associates, Inc.
2030 Irving Boulevard, Dallas, Texas 75207